Saints and Revolutionaries, by Olaf Stapledon


THE AIMS of this series are set out in the Argument which follows this Preface. My responsibilities as Editor are restricted to the selection of the contributors and occasionally to the suggestion of a subject. I must not be supposed to agree with any particular author's point of view, any more than one contributor can be assumed to agree with another — except on this, which gives the series its unity.

We are all agreed in believing that materialism is not enough. That is the lowest statement of our convictions. The belief in freedom, in human responsibility, in the authority of reason, in the duty of argument, in the claims of the individual, which arises from these convictions will be expressed in different ways and from different religious, philosophical and political standpoints.

For myself, I hold firmly that the great danger to civilization to-day comes from the tyranny of fear, the worship of power and from man's refusal to endure the burden of spiritual liberty. Men seek to be free from their selves, not through a passion of self-abnegation, but from a suspicion that the self is not worth while. They value security above safety, convenience above conviction; and would submerge themselves in the mass, not in a fellowship of free men seeking a fuller life, but in obedience to some dark sub-human impulse towards the domination of death.

Against that, all of us, Christians, Jews, agnostics, atheists, mystics, rationalists, orthodox, heretics, are agreed to make our protest.


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